Strong winds force firefighters to abandon smouldering blaze

The Fire Service says it's sent 11 trucks to help deal with the flames, and the fire at Weatherell Transport, on Halbert Rd is not yet under control. Photo / Facebook / Meng Foon
The Fire Service says it's sent 11 trucks to help deal with the flames, and the fire at Weatherell Transport, on Halbert Rd is not yet under control. Photo / Facebook / Meng Foon

Flying iron sheeting whipped up by strong winds has forced firefighters to abandon the smouldering remains of a large storage fire in Gisborne.

Firefighters have worked through the night to bring the blaze at the Weatherell Transport under control.

It was finally put out at 2.45am but work is far from over with flare ups throughout the ruined site.

This morning Fire Service shift manager Belinda Beets said strengthening winds were posing a risk to firefighters who could no longer work safely at the Halbert Rd property.

"They've had to leave it," she said.

"The winds have got up and there's loose iron blowing around.

"It's a bit dangerous for them at the moment."

At its height 11 fire crews from several Gisborne brigades were needed to fight the spectacular blaze which raged for hours.

Chainsaws were used to find the source of a fire in the wall of the giant Makaraka storage shed.

Two trucks were needed before midnight to help relieve the eight crews who worked for nearly five hours to control the fierce blaze.

A fire service spokeswoman said the fire was visible, in a 20 by 30 metre storage shed.

While firefighters could see the fire, they needed the chainsaws to get inside the structure to put the flames out.

Local reporter Murray Robertson told Newstalk ZB the fire was burning through the roof of the shed.

He said there was dense black smoke pouring out.

Firefighters from all over the Gisborne District were called to tackle a blaze at the transport company on the city's outskirts.

Witnesses said smoke was pouring from the roof of the storage shed from 7pm.

Robertson said every fire truck in the district was called to help.

John Larsen owns the sawmill next door to Weatherell Transport, and said he first thought it was maize dust so he carried on working.

He said the building has been used to store crops in the past.

Larsen feared the fire would be quite fierce because the structure had been a cool store and lined with polystyrene.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 23 May 2017 17:35:52 Processing Time: 634ms